Seventh Post in the Nuclear Policy Series: The Glittering Eye
Blogfriend Dave Schuler brings in the important economic and scientific limiting factors to the discussion:
“World production of U3O8 is roughly 47,000 tonnes. The spot price of uranium is about $90/lb. Conseqently, the total world production of natural uranium (the yellowcake we’ve heard so much about) is about $10 billion annually, much of which comes from Canada, Australia, and Kazakhstan with lesser amount produced in Niger, Russia, the U.S., and other countries.
Since the prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapons development program is much on people’s minds, let’s use Iran as an example.
Annual Iranian oil revenues, the government’s main source of revenue, are roughly $50 billion annually. BTW, there have been some signs that, despite the rising price of oil, the Iranian government’s revenues from oil are actually falling due to decreasing production (for various reasons). Add to this the draw on the treasury created by the profligate policy of subsidizing gasoline which, while creating a certain amount of political peace, has the unfortunate secondary effect of increasing the use of gasoline in the country and decreasing the amount of the government’s revenues available for spending on nuclear development programs, whether peaceful or weapons development.”
Read the rest here.